In case getting in a car crash wasn’t stressful enough, you’re now facing the reality of being in a crash in a company vehicle. At least when you have an accident in your own personal vehicle, you don’t have to worry about consequences at work. If you’ve been involved in a car collision while driving a company vehicle, it’s important to learn your options and protect yourself.
Not sure what your next step is after a crash in a company car? Let us help. Call Weaver Tidmore at 205-980-6065 to set up a consultation now.
As is the case with any car accident, determining liability is key. This largely determines what will happen with your claim and who will pay for damages. If the other driver is responsible for the accident, their insurance company will likely be responsible for paying for your medical bills and any damage done to the company car.
If you caused the accident through your own negligence, however, the other party will likely come to you for compensation.
Who Pays for Damages
Luckily, it’s unlikely that you will have to pay for damages after an accident in a company car. Under the concept of vicarious liability, an employer is usually responsible for damage caused by their employee as long as their employee was working within their normal scope of duties. This means that, even if you caused the accident, you would not have to pay for damages. Any compensation that has to be paid out should be paid by your company’s commercial insurance policy.
When You Are Liable
There are situations in which you may have to pay for damages in a car accident. The concept of vicarious liability only applies if you are in a crash when you are working within your normal scope of duties. If you were doing something else, you may be held financially responsible for the crash. For example, if you were stopping to get coffee between site visits, running a personal errand, or stopping to visit a friend before getting back to work, none of those tasks fall within your normal work duties.
Another situation in which you could be on the hook is if you were committing a crime at the time of the accident. If you were, for example, driving drunk at the time of the collision, your commercial insurance policy may not cover you. You would be fully responsible for compensating all injured victims.
Workers’ Compensation and Injury Settlements
If you were injured in the crash, you likely wonder who will pay your expenses and cover your losses. There are two ways you may be compensated after a crash in a company vehicle: workers’ compensation and a personal injury settlement. Workers’ compensation generally kicks in quickly, paying you a portion of your wages and covering all medical costs associated with the accident.
If the other driver was liable for the accident, though, you could also seek compensation with a personal injury claim. This may take a bit longer than workers’ compensation, but it would allow you to receive full compensation for lost wages. For many people, the solution is to get workers’ compensation first, pursue a personal injury settlement, and then workers’ compensation would be reimbursed from the settlement.
Note that you cannot receive compensation for the same expenses from two different sources. If workers’ compensation covers your medical bills and the personal injury settlement includes funds for your medical bills, you can’t keep the settlement money. The money must be refunded to workers’ compensation.
How This Affects Your Employment
People often worry about how an accident will affect their employment. Unfortunately, there is no clear-cut answer to this. For some employers, a car accident is a terminable offense. For others, it is simply a cost of doing business. You’ll need to speak to your manager or HR department for further guidance.
Turn to Weaver Tidmore for the Legal Assistance You Need
Being involved in an accident while driving a company car can be a nerve-wracking experience, but you don’t have to face it alone. With Weaver Tidmore by your side, you can move through this process confidently and fight for the compensation you are owed. Set up a consultation now by calling us at 205-980-6065 or contacting us .